It’s a repeat of the Euro 2012 final as tournament favourites Spain face Italy tonight in the second semi final of the Confederations Cup.
Italy will be hoping on an improvement the last time they faced the World Champions while Spain hope to keep alive the hope of three consecutive international trophies.
Alberto Gilardino is set to come in for Mario Balotelli, who misses out with a thigh injury. Star player Andrea Pirlo could return after missing the Brazil game with a thigh injury while Daniele De Rossi returns after suspension. Ricardo Montilivo is available despite coming off in the Brazil game with a head injury.
The road to the Semi
Spain won all their three group games including a Confederations Cup record 10-0 over Tahiti. They also overcame Uruguay 2-1 and despite a 3-0 win over Nigeria, their performance was not up to a Spanish standard.
Despite a 4-2 loss to Brazil, Italy got through to the semi’s as Group A runner’s up. The 4-3 win over Japan was the big win despite a woeful performance which the Japanese probably should have won. They also beat Mexico in a narrow but deserved 2-1 win.
The last meeting was last year’s Euro 2012 Final where Spain beat Italy 4-0. It was their biggest ever win over the Italians.
The Spanish have only lost 1 of their last 8 games against Italy. Four of them have been draws and in Euro 2008 Spain knocked out Italy on a penalty shootout.
Spain are unbeaten in their last 28 games with the 1-0 loss to Switzerland in the 2010 World Cup the last time they lost but Italy will be hoping to end that run tonight.
If Pirlo returns for Italy they could stand a chance but the absence of Balotelli is a real blow. I fully expect Spain to get through to the final but Italy will put up a better fight than in last years Euro 2012 final.
Predicted scoreline: Spain 3-1 Italy
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 27, 2013